Runtime: 2h 15m
Theatre503 has a killer reputation for showcasing eye-catching debuts, and that is likely to be the case with Theo Chester’s first play, which tells of Jacob, whose role in a city of the vastly rich and the appallingly poor is to fix broken bones and sew up wounds but also to execute those accused of stealing food. But Jacob doesn’t want to chop off heads any more. He thinks what his community really needs is healing and compassion, not punishment and death. But others, including those close to Jacob, have other ideas. Tommo Fowler directs a play about making a fairer and better future in a place where everything feels unbearably bleak. Sound familiar? This could prove a powerful parable for our times.
It’s been a harsh winter, the people of the town starve while the rich hoard gold and grain. To keep the peace, the powers that be have done what they always do: make ample use of Jacob. He cures the sick, fixes broken bones, sews up wounds. He also tortures those accused of stealing food and chops off their heads. But Jacob thinks he can keep the peace better if he stops taking heads. All he needs now is to get the town’s blessing to heal full time, making his community a better, more humane place. But he’s not the only one with plans: his wife, Hilde, and Ana, one of the town’s elite, are pushing for more radical solutions that risk tipping the balance in dangerously uncertain ways. Stray Dogs by Theo Chester is a visceral, epic play that asks how we can create a better future when things are so very awful. Age Recommendation: 14+